There are many models for managing a community shop: the majority are managed and run directly by the community, mostly by a combination of staff and volunteers, and some by volunteer or staff only. A lesser number of communities decide to lease or rent the running of the business to individual tenants or commercial operators once they have secured premises in community ownership. Each community will find a solution which works best for them, but the model promoted by the Plunkett Foundation is to employ a shop manager and a team of volunteers. A paid manager can help to ensure that the finances, stock ordering and control, all aspects of legislation, and staff cover is consistently managed, and a volunteer team will contribute to the vibrancy of the shop, inject a range of skills and ideas, and reduce staffing costs.
Why are community shops important?
Community shops are an effective mechanism for safeguarding essential retail outlets in rural areas, but they also have wider social, economic and environmental benefits. With an estimated 300-500 village shops closing every year, community ownership is helping to preserve vital outlets and services for rural communities. The past five years have seen an average of 22 shops open under community ownership per year.
Community shops particularly benefit those who are disadvantaged by lack of personal transport, limited physical mobility, and those seeking employment or volunteer opportunities. They engage large numbers of the community and stimulate social activity and community cohesion: